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"This may be the most original cross-species love story I've ever read. Part travelogue, part recovery memoir, and one hundred percent compelling." —Gwen Cooper, author of the New York Times bestselling Homer's Odyssey: A Fearless Feline Tale, or How I Learned About Love and Life with a Blind Wonder Cat
"[An] epiphany-provoking gem of a story, skillfully crafted, vivid and rich with feeling." —Richard Blanco, Presidential Inaugural Poet and author of The Prince of los Cocuyos: A Miami Childhood
"A stunning, exceptional memoir from a woman who truly understands and appreciates birds . . . A captivating, heart-warming tale and a delightful, inspiring read." —Joanna Burger, author of The Parrot Who Owns Me: The Story of a Relationship
An avian expert and poet shares a true story of beloved birds, a remarkable grandfather, a bad-girl youth—and an astonishing redemption
Nikki Moustaki, author of The Bird Market of Paris, grew up in 1980s Miami, the only child of parents who worked, played, and traveled for luxury sports car dealerships. At home, her doting grandmother cooked for and fed her, but it was her grandfather—an evening-gown designer, riveting storyteller, and bird expert—who was her mentor and dearest companion.
Like her grandfather, Nikki fell hard for birds. "Birds filled my childhood," she writes, "as blue filled the sky." Her grandfather showed her how to hypnotize chickens, sneak up on pigeons, and handle baby birds. He gave her a white dove to release for luck on each birthday. And he urged her to, someday, visit the bird market of Paris.
But by the time Nikki graduated from college and moved to New York City, she was succumbing to alcohol and increasingly unable to care for her flock. When her grandfather died, guilt-ridden Nikki drank even more. In a last-ditch effort to honor her grandfather, she flew to France hoping to visit the bird market of Paris to release a white dove. Instead, something astonishing happened there that saved Nikki's life.